Earlier this week, on Tuesday night, I attended one of ANWA’s monthly services in New York City. If you’re not familiar with ANWA, it stands for All Nations of the World Assembly, which is pastored by Dr. Matthew Stephenson.
I was truly blessed as I worshipped with many Christians together, and experienced God’s presence in an incredible way! In the midst of that, there was one part of the message preached that stuck out to me. Dr. Stephenson was preaching from 1 Kings 18:41-46, where Elisha sent his servant to look for the rain that was coming in light of a drought that Israel was experiencing.
In light of this account, the part Stephenson preached on that stood out was the way he talked about Elisha’s servant, and the revelation that occurs when you serve. Not only that, but he began to speak about what it means to serve in the midst of unfair treatment, and how the knowledge of our identity impacts our response to that treatment.
It is in light of the importance of our identity that God drew my attention to the relationship between the work of a servant and the life of a son or daugher of God. It can seem weird to say that we’re servants, especially when the Bible even speaks about how servants aren’t given the same honor as the children are. How does that actually work?
When you remember your identity as a child of God, you’re able to fulfill your call as a servant with a firmly rooted assurance and security that comes with having God as your Father. As you remember this identity, you’re then able to serve from a true foundation, and further abide in God’s love because your obedience to God’s commands produces the abiding love of the Father in you. Jesus Himself said so.
We obey Christ’s commands that reveal the abiding love of God by surrendering our flesh to God so that we’re able to love sacrificially and we experience the fruit of that obedience.
If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.John 15:10 (NKJV)
As Dr. Stephenson said that night, there are some things about God and what He reveals that you will never learn until you serve. I can attest to that, as I’ve been challenged in my own life to serve more, serve deeper, and serve beyond what my desires are. I’ve learned things about my heart that weren’t good, and I’ve also learned about God’s love in ways that I hadn’t before.
Some of what I’ve learned is the depth of God’s passion for community, and how the gifts He’s placed in the communities He’s in the midst of don’t often come as we think they should. There are times your next experience of God’s hand in your life, that’ll take you to the next level, will happen to you in the context of your service to someone else. Even some of the ways that God transforms your heart, so that your desires are renewed, will come as you obey His command to serve.
As you serve the Lord, never forget the identity that you’re serving from, you are an immensely loved child of the Father! You walk as a servant, always abounding in the work the Lord has for you, and you live in your identity as His child. There is nothing or no one that could change that.